Head First: Living Labs for Ad-hoc Search Evaluation

Krisztian Balog and Liadh Kelly and Anne Schuth. In Proceedings of CIKM'14, 2014.


The information retrieval (IR) community strives to make evaluation more centered on real users and their needs. The living labs evaluation paradigm, i.e., observing users in their natural task environments, offers great promise in this regard. Yet, progress in an academic setting has been limited. This paper presents the first living labs for the IR community benchmarking campaign initiative, taking as test two use-cases: local domain search on a university website and product search on an e-commerce site. There are many challenges associated with this setting, including incorporating results from experimental search systems into live production systems, and obtaining sufficiently many impressions from relatively low traffic sites. We propose that head queries can be used to generate result lists offline, which are then interleaved with results of the production system for live evaluation. An API is developed to orchestrate the communication between commercial parties and benchmark participants. This campaign acts to progress the living labs for IR evaluation methodology, and offers important insight into the role of living labs in this space.




  title = {Head First: Living Labs for Ad-hoc Search Evaluation},
  author = {Krisztian Balog and Liadh Kelly and Anne Schuth},
  year = {2014},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of CIKM'14}